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Resource mis-allocation ? July 19, 2006

Posted by Sharath Rao in economics, india, landmark-post.
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This picture from the Hindustan Times sourced at 9:35 PM, EST from here had me shocked !

Does this picture suggest lack of resource (roads) or highly suboptimal allocation of the same. I dont know much about Delhi ( except that the ITO (Income Tax Office) area is rather busy – but what is the empty double lane highway lying there. Am I missing some detail ( very likely ) or is this another case of the suboptimal and wasteful use of precious resource (road space in crowded Delhi ) ( especially at precarious times ( heavy rains )) that we see in India. Remember Nehru said “profit ( and often consequently efficiency ) is a dirty word.”

Lack of profit (inefficieny) then is a dirty ROAD !

Also note : The traffic is in the opposite direction on the highway. That may say something, but I am really clueless !

Update : Tyler has linked to this post from here. Welcome MR readers. Some of the comments on MR in response and Joe here on this blog pointed to the how this would be a usual phenomenon here in the United States on interstates in and out of every city. This has interested me too and caused to me to ask is there no way to utilize perhaps some of the sparsely used lanes more efficiently. Like bus timetables that are non-linearly spaced not the best comparison for essentially one of these is a costly hardware change, the other being a software tweak !. Bottlenecks at their ends would be another issue – but that exists even now anyway.

Either way, there has to be some way to use what is afterall a poorly used resource

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Comments»

1. Joe - July 20, 2006

The direction of the traffic says a lot, no?

If you drive *out* of any American city during morning rush hour, you’ll have a much easier time than the folks driving *in*. And in the evening, the congestion affects the other side of the highway.

Of course, down here in Washington, DC, we have the Beltway, so it’s always crowded in every direction. 🙂

2. Anonymous - July 20, 2006

India, like England, drives on the left-hand side of the road.

3. Venuhttp://underground-man.blogspot.com - July 20, 2006

You got linked by MR!

4. Anonymous - July 20, 2006

There are roads in American cities that have some lanes that are switched between inbound and outbound depending on the traffic load.

5. ennishttp://www.sepiamutiny.com - July 20, 2006

Sharath – the road on the left looks like it has traffic going both ways on it. My guess is that it is a toll road – do you have a direct link to the image rather than one to the front of the HT? If we could find out exactly where this is, we could answer your question far better.

6. Sharath Rao - July 20, 2006

anonymous 2: thanks ..i didnt know about this is done.

Ennis,

Infact not quite. The road on the left ..both lanes there have it going in the same direction …you can see the back (yellow patch) of the those vehicles ( rickshaws – 3 wheelers ) …so its more complicated than that ! ( Click on the image to see a larger version )

and sorry, I dont have a link though cos they appear in a section called “news in pics” and they keep changing rather fast….

( I hardly miss ur posts on SM 🙂 )

7. Anonymous - July 21, 2006

There is a project on the I-15 (Interstate 15) in San Diego, CA to create a reversable zipper HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle(Carpool)) lane.

The highway would consist of 4 or 5 dedicated north bound lanes, and 4 or 5 south bounds lanes. In the middle, would be the HOV lane, 4 lanes wide. The lane would contain a moveable barrier.

8. Stevehttp://themodulator.org/ - July 23, 2006

Seattle has reversible lanes as part of I-5 from the center of the city for some miles north and on I-90 across Lake Washington.

Nevertheless, these freeways often look like the one in the picture.

And, what Joe says about directionality is commonly true about I-5 in and out of Seattle from the South and I-405 in and out of Bellevue from either direction. However, I-90 and HW520 across Lake Washington are, more often, jammed in both directions both morning and night. There is a reason, but hat is another story….

9. Anonymous - July 25, 2006

Not saying the traffic isn’t bad because of misallocation of scarce roadway resources, but it’s difficult to draw conclusions from one picture. I was a truck driver for 7 years and drove 100k+ miles a year…sometimes roads that flow at 5 mph over the limit are choked by a mild accident.

SteveH


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